selling

How to sell your stuff without selling your soul

By Rachel Jessica Huxtable

Truthful selling. Do those two words even go together in the same sentence?

I know growing up, I used to think that marketing and sales were these horrible things that should never be uttered in the presence of a true creative or artiste. Because we are loyal to our work, right? We are the true cheerleaders of our creative work and we should never have to undermine the artist within and sell our soul? Abso-freakin-lutely!

So how exactly do you sell your stuff without selling your soul?

Here’s the thing, we happen to live in an amazing digital world right now. The accessibility to digital platforms and worldwide audiences is a whole new game for us creatives. It gives us the opportunity to reach niche markets that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. We are able to sell our own products without having to be a huge corporation.  And we can do it with integrity and honesty. In fact, it’s recommended.

Consumers have cottoned on - they’ve developed a highly sensitive B-S radar. People can see right through a flakey marketing tactic or flashy gimmick. People are more interested in purchasing something that number one; provides a solution to a problem they’re having, two; adds to their sense of identity and three; is backed by a purpose they believe in.

As the creator of your product or service, you need to be highly effective at communicating your story and the benefits and features of your stuff to meet your customer where they’re at. 

So here are some of my tips to help you do just that!

1. Get clear about your product or service.

It’s always so easy to get carried away with a creative idea (or six), but when you’re trying to exchange it for money, you always have to consider the other person in the transaction. Your customer! How is this product or service going to solve a problem for them? And why is this better than what’s already out in the marketplace? The difference here is flipping the focus onto your customer. It’s all about them, not about you. How can you serve them better?

2. Develop unwavering belief about your work.

So often as creatives, we get this ‘tortured artist’ thing going on. We wonder if we’re good enough, if anyone will like our stuff, if we will ever amount to anything (or perhaps we are destined to wander the earth forever as a struggling artist). Here’s the secret: there is no right or wrong or good or bad – because it’s all subjective!

You have to believe in what you do and why you’re doing it. You have to believe that what you’re offering up to the world is going to make a difference. You have to believe that your customer NEEDS it because it will make their life better.

WHY? Because if don’t truly believe it, then no one else will.

Would you rather buy something from someone who sort of thinks their product is just, you know…OK? Or would you rather buy the same thing from someone who is passionate, proud and crazy inspired by what they’re creating? That passion and inspiration comes from a deep belief that what you’re doing is making a difference and is worthy of being purchased!

3. Share your creative story.

People love to hear stories of how your business came to be. Why did you start it in the first place? And why do you think your product and services are so needed in the world? Often entrepreneurs face problems in their own lives that they can’t find a solution for. And so they go on to create new amazing things that solve it. Sharing your story helps you connect with your potential clients and customers on a human level. It offers them a window into who you really are and gives them another reason to love you and what you’re about!

Using these truthful tools to create, market and sell your products will help you connect with your potential customers, care deeply about making their lives better and offer them a buying experience filled with honesty and integrity - soul in tact.

Rachel Jessica Huxtable is an author, speaker and mentor on personal growth, spirituality and entrepreneurship. Through her blog posts, videos, books, mentoring and online programs she inspires women around the world to live with purpose and soul and make a difference in the world.

She has been featured in The New Daily, Peppermint Magazine, Tiny Buddha, Your Zen Life, Youthful Habits, Desire to Done, The Sparked Company, Beautiful Because, Bliss Habits, Holistic Entrepreneurs Association and Gabby Bernstein’s HerFuture.com.

Get her FREE Purpose Driven Business Planner Here. Connect with Rachel at her websiteYouTubeFacebookInstagram and Twitter. Elevate your biz and get private business mentoring with Rachel here.

Photo Credit: Stokpic

How to Identify Your Ideal Customer

By Rebecca Thompson

The fact is about 20 percent of all your customers will generate 80 percent of your income. That is because the other 80 percent aren’t totally in line with your ideal customer. There is a way to improve your income exponentially, and that's by hyper focusing on your ideal customer so that you can attract more of them and fewer who aren’t ideal.

1. What Benefits Does Your Product or Service Offer? - Make a list of all the benefits that your product or service has. When you are thinking like your customer, you will always think about “what’s in it for me?” Your customer wants to know why they should use that product.

2. Identify Pain Points That You Can Solve – What sort of pain points does your product or service solve? Does it free up time? Does it end boredom? 

3. Determine Who Needs These Issues Solved – Once you’ve gathered a list of benefits your product offers and pain points that your product solves, you need to figure out who needs those benefits and has those pain points.

4. Determine Your Customers' Potential Characteristics – Once you have a list of those who might benefit from your product or service, you can make a list of demographics and other factors that people in that group share. 

5. Determine Your Customers’ Behavior – Find ways to research the list of people you made above so that you can get a better idea of the type of behavior your target audience displays.

6. What Career Does Your Ideal Customer Have? – Can you determine what type of career your ideal client has from the information you’ve gathered above?

7. What Price Point Can They Afford? – Once you know what type of career your ideal client has, you can also determine a fair price point for your product or service based on what they can afford to pay and the value of your offering.

8. Test Your Assumptions – Once you have a fair idea of who your ideal client is, you can test your assumptions by identifying some influencers within your audience and asking them to try your product or service.

9. Repeat – Take the answers you get from the information above and the test and improve upon your offerings so that you can truly please your ideal customer.

Using the information learned from all of the above actions, you can truly focus your marketing efforts toward your ideal client. In addition, you can use the information to retain the right customers in order to take advantage of repeat customers and a high level of customer satisfaction.

Rebecca Thompson is a social media consultant and strategist who assists small business owners with increasing the quality of their social media presence and online communities. She loves social media and thrives on using it to increase brand awareness and gain visibility for her clients. Find her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Photo Credit: Picjumbo

A Short Guide to Sleaze-Free Selling

By Alyssa Martin

Selling is a requirement for a successful business. It’s how you make money. But, as a female entrepreneur, it can also be really hard because you’re so invested in your work that sales also feels deeply personal. Hearing a ‘no’ can sometimes feel like they’re rejecting you, instead of declining your offer.

Being afraid of sales and self-promotion is normal because we’ve ALL been sold to by a slimy salesperson at some point in our lives. That memory probably triggers an “I don’t want to be THAT person” response.

The fact that you’re reading this and that you don’t want to sound “salesy” means that you do what you do because you care. When you were a little girl, I’m willing to bet, you didn’t think, “oh, I want to be in sales” and that you probably more interested in doing something that would help people.

I’m here to tell you that your work helps people, which is why you need to promote it and get it into the hands of the people who need it most.

Don’t think of it as selling, think of it as ‘being of service’

Self-promotion is not your primary goal if you want to market yourself without being slimy about it. You will certainly feel like a sleazy used car salesman if you go into a client conversation thinking, 

“I’ve got to make a sale… I’ve got to sign this client.” 

What if success wasn't the goal, but rather helping people? Maybe success is just a byproduct of the real work. 

That means you can focus on why you do what you do and still feel successful after promoting yourself.

For example, let’s imagine you’re a health and weight loss blogger. You use your blog as a platform to coach women 1-on-1. Most importantly, you help them lose weight after giving birth in a way that doesn’t overwhelm them while they’re stuck in the blur of life with a newborn.

You go into every meeting with a potential weight loss client focusing on what you can do during that meeting to make her feel more confident and better equipped to lose weight. 

After the meeting, you ask yourself: "Did I leave this person better off than when I met her?” If the answer is ‘yes,’ then you’ve done your job well.

By starting the conversation (whether it’s online or offline) with a mindset of “how can I help this person,” you create a completely different energy around the conversation. Your potential client picks up on that graceful, confident energy and it makes her feel more certain that you can help her lose weight in a way that’s fits with her hectic, new-mother life.

Even better, when she finishes the conversation feeling like you’ve really helped her before she’s ever given you a dollar, she starts imaging how much value she’ll get if she actually pays for it.

The end result: Your potential client feels good after the conversation. You feel good for being helpful. And you’ve got a much stronger chance of turning her into a paying client without having to feel ‘salesy.’

Promote twice as much as you need to

Confidence is key to selling. That doesn’t mean being cocky and exaggerating your achievements. It means being 100% sure that what you’re offering can help the person you’re offering it to.

It’s important to come from a place of confidence, so you're not asking for business from a place of desperation or fear. (Because your potential clients will sense that fear a mile away.)

If you’re doing twice as much self-promotion as you need to, you’ll ideally have twice as many enquiries coming in from people interested in working with you. You’ll have a whole pipeline of people lining up for your offer and that will take the weight of “where’s my next paycheck coming from” off your shoulders, so that you can start talking about yourself and your work from a more confident place.

Your dream clients will notice when you’re coming from a place of trust and confidence and that will give them confidence that you’re an expert who can help them solve their problems.

7th time’s a charm

People need to hear your message 7 times before they take action and click your link or buy your offer. 

Why? 

Because people are busy, inboxes are crowded and social media feeds move at the speed of light. 

What does that mean for you? 

It means you’re not being pushy when you repeatedly sell yourself on social media or through your email list. It means you’re doing what your audience needs to hear your message. 

Only a fraction of your audience will see it if you only promote your offer once. Instead write 7 different versions of that self-promotional Facebook post, schedule 7 different tweets, draft 7 different blog posts about the topic. 

Then, spread them out over a few days or weeks and sprinkle them in with your usual posts / tweets / blogs / newsletters, so that you’re not just blasting your audience with “salesy” posts. 

Most people won’t even notice that you have promoted your work that many times because they don’t spend all day on social media and they don’t follow you in every available channel.

But the people that DO notice are far likely to hit the ‘buy now’ button or sponsor your next blog post or sign up to your next class. Because each time they see a post about your offer, you’re inching them closer to awareness that they need what you’ve got.

If it feels icky, do it differently

When you feel confident about your message and your work, it becomes so much more appealing to others. When you feel icky, it’s near impossible for you to sell yourself with confidence and enthusiasm. Your audience will spot your discomfort a mile away and question your role as an expert. 

Besides, you know that what you do is making a difference. You deserve to feel good about telling people that.

So this rule is simple: if there’s something about your self-promotion that feels icky to you, find out where that icky feeling comes from and find a better approach that works for you.

Does it come from using hype-y words when, in real life, you’re actually a mellow person that would say that self-promotional sentence in a different way?

Does it come from the place that you’re promoting yourself? Maybe you’re someone who hates Facebook, but you feel like have to promote yourself in a hundred Facebook groups because that’s what everyone else is doing?

Does it come from not really believing that you can deliver on the results that you’re promising? If that’s true, then what can you promise and wholeheartedly know that you can achieve for your audience? It might be as simple as changing “get 3x more blog traffic when you work with me” to “I’ve helped my clients get 3x more blog traffic.”

Alyssa Martin is a copywriter and communications coach focused on helping difference makers & creative entrepreneurs promote and sell themselves without feeling icky or sleazy. Through her practical blog posts & copywriting smarts, she gives you the tools you need to clearly tell the world why you’re different, better, and worth working with — so you can make a difference and a profit. Get the scoop at alyssamartin

Photo Credit: PicJumbo